Close to Home

Last week my uncle passed away.  As you get older, death becomes something more and more real and equally as scary.  I remember when I experienced the death of a loved one for the first time. I was in high school when my grandfather passed away.  I was young and didn't necessarily know how to react.  I was at an age where I was not necessarily close with many extended family and my biggest concerns were how to impress a girl or pass an upcoming test. 

Since that point, I experienced the deaths of more friends and family, and while I mourned their loss, there was still something off.  I had the ability to make it feel more like pretend than real and use that as a tool to cope.  Now that I am dealing with cancer, death has become a real thought and seeing the loss of a family member hits closer to home.  It also does not help that my uncle passed away due to cancer.  To see someone lose a battle to something that I am fighting every day is a tough hit to my confidence.  While his cancer was completely different and caused by completely different reasons, it still resonates with me. 

Being at his wake helped me realize some things.  While death has become more real, I am not ready for it.  I will be the one to decide when I am ready.  Until that point comes, I will be fighting with every ounce that I have, while cracking jokes and enjoying life with those close to me.  I will miss my uncle Rusty and remember the fond memories I have of him as a child, and I will try to view his struggle with cancer as a stepping stone to my own growth and progress.